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Posts with tag licenses

How much is a brand name license worth? Part 2

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps.

My first article on the issues of brand licensing and Bobby Kotick's comments pondering the profitability problems that Star Wars: The Old Republic could potentially have due to the amount of money it costs to license the Star Wars franchise received some nice follow-up emails. Many readers sent in emails about why people hold their licenses to their chests and charge so much, when it would logically be better to get the brand name on anything and everything people touch. After all, more products with your logo on them is good, right? Well ... Not really, and not always.

Last week, I confessed to not knowing the amount of money Lucas was going to be paid for the Star Wars license for The Old Republic, but we could surmise that it would be a hefty fee. Readers pointed to an article by Eurogamer that interviews Michael Pachter, a games industry analyst many people know of. He believes that the cut LucasArts will be taking is around 35% of the revenue split after Electronic Arts makes back all of the cash that it puts into the game itself. If that's true, it's pretty astonishing, since LucasArts has so much faith in EA and BioWare to make this game have some intense staying power.

Where World of Warcraft is concerned, Blizzard lives in a different world where rather than have to choose the perfect partner to make the next StarCraft game, it has to operate as the LucasArts-like party, finding the right people to make everything associated with its brands. Where The Old Republic is another Star Wars product, Blizzard's most popular franchise is a game first and a world of products secondary.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

How much is a brand name license worth?

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps.

Back at the beginning of the year, I wrote a piece for The Lawbringer called The power of licensing, including a brief account of what licensing is and what effects and benefits licensing your product has on brand recognition and where you make money on your product. Licensing is essentially granting someone the right to make and sell stuff with your intellectual property on it. Usually, you're not allowed to sell "stuff," in the loosest sense of the word, with images, artwork, characters, and so on that are not yours. Ownership rights are a little weird to grasp.

Back in November, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick made some comments before the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic concerning whether the game would be profitable at all, given the amount BioWare is paying to Lucas for the rights to even make a Star Wars game. Kotick's comments rang a very special bell in my brain, prompting me to think about the licensing contract that BioWare and Lucasfilm have over the Star Wars franchise, as well as the reverse Blizzard model in which the entire franchise is owned in-house.

George Lucas was a pioneer in the realm of movie merchandising, keeping the rights to all of the Star Wars characters and creating one of the most profitable toy and promotional brands in the history of entertainment. The Star Wars franchise is so incredibly far-reaching and part of our society that my younger brother knew that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father years before he ever saw the movies. He was, however, very surprised at the whole Luke and Leia sibling deal. The reach, power, and control that Lucas exerts over his licensee partners is second to none.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Blizzard and machinima

The relationship Blizzard has cultivated and presented to the machinima community is, in a word, rare. Not unexpected, but rare. Companies such as Blizzard that hold such a hot property like the Warcraft series usually are tight with licensing. Blizzard is also ridiculous-smart -- you don't get the amount of success it has without being something ridiculous. At an early stage, the company realized that giving a fair amount of leniency to machinima would reap some awesome benefits. That theory has paid off, not only for Blizzard but for the community as well, in spades.

This week, Lawbringer delves into the fairly broad Blizzard-machinima artist relationship. The seeds of this quick look at the rules of machinima came from Myndflame's own look at Blizzard's policies back in 2009. Like I said before, this relationship is unique in its openness. In fact, Blizzard openly courts machinima artists in sponsored contests as well as through its official policies on the art form.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Guildwatch: Yesterday, WoW was such an easy game to play


Writing all of this Guildwatch stuff this week has really had me pining for a hardcore raiding guild lately -- I don't know if I'd have the time or the interest to show up for all of the raids, but man, it must be a good feeling to roll up through Ulduar with nine other people and walk away with an awesome title and/or a Rusted Proto-drake like the folks above. Kudos to all the guilds that manage to pull it off, as reported right here on GW.

If your guild has done something noteworthy (or you've seen a particularly juicy piece of drama over on the guild forums), please do send us a note at guildwatch@wow.com. Meanwhile, click on through the link below to see this week's drama, downed, and recruiting news.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

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